Search Images Maps Play YouTube News Gmail Drive More »
Sign in
Screen reader users: click this link for accessible mode. Accessible mode has the same essential features but works better with your reader.

Patents

  1. Advanced Patent Search
Publication numberUS20020148601 A1
Publication typeApplication
Application numberUS 10/028,365
Publication dateOct 17, 2002
Filing dateDec 28, 2001
Priority dateDec 30, 2000
Also published asCA2366236A1, DE10065797A1, EP1219912A1
Publication number028365, 10028365, US 2002/0148601 A1, US 2002/148601 A1, US 20020148601 A1, US 20020148601A1, US 2002148601 A1, US 2002148601A1, US-A1-20020148601, US-A1-2002148601, US2002/0148601A1, US2002/148601A1, US20020148601 A1, US20020148601A1, US2002148601 A1, US2002148601A1
InventorsMartin Roos, Edwin Nun, Markus Oles, Bernhard Schleich
Original AssigneeMartin Roos, Edwin Nun, Markus Oles, Bernhard Schleich
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Apparatus for accelerating condensation with the aid of structured surfaces
US 20020148601 A1
Abstract
A condensation apparatus for condensing a gas on a surface, where the surface for condensing the gas has elevations of average height of from 50 nm to 1 mm, and with an average separation of from 50 nm to 1 mm, allows increased condensation efficiency. The apparatus is used for condensing organic or inorganic gases and may be incorporated into distillation systems.
Images(2)
Previous page
Next page
Claims(21)
1. A condensation apparatus comprising,
a condensation surface, wherein said condensation surface comprises a plurality of elevations, said plurality of elevations having an average height of from 50 nm to 1 mm and an average separation of from 50 nm to 1 mm.
2. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the condensation surface has an angle of inclination of at least 3°.
3. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the condensation surface has a surface energy of from 5 to 20 mN/m when the plurality of elevations is not present.
4. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the condensation surface is coated with polytetrafluoroethylene, polyvinylidene fluoride, or polymers comprising perfluoroalkoxy compounds.
5. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the condensation surface comprises at least one metal.
6. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the condensation surface comprises a coating, said coating comprising at least one compound selected from the group consisting of fluoroalkanes, alkylfluorosilanes and fluorinated vinyls.
7. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the condensation surface comprises polytetrafluoroethylene, polyvinylidene, fluoride, or polymers made from perfluoroalkoxy compounds.
8. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the plurality of elevations is randomly distributed on the condensation surface.
9. The apparatus as claimed in claim 1, wherein the plurality of elevations are distributed in an ordered pattern on the condensation surface.
10. A distillation system comprising the apparatus as claimed in claim 1.
11. A method for condensing a gas comprising,
contacting a condensable gas with a condensation surface to form a condensate,
wherein said condensation surface comprises a plurality of elevations having an average height of from 50 nm to 1 mm and an average separation of from 50 nm to 1 mm.
12. The method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the condensable gas is steam, alcohol vapor or fuel vapor.
13. The method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the condensate is water, alcohol or fuel.
14. The method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the condensation surface has an angle of inclination of at least 3°.
15. The method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the condensation surface has a surface energy of from 5 to 20 mN/m when the plurality of elevations is not present.
16. The method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the condensation surface is coated with polytetrafluoroethylene, polyvinylidene fluoride, or polymers comprising perfluoroalkoxy compounds.
17. The method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the condensation surface comprises at least one metal.
18. The method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the condensation surface comprises a coating, said coating comprising at least one compound selected from the group consisting of fluoroalkanes, alkylfluorosilanes and fluorinated vinyls.
19. The method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the condensation surface comprises polytetrafluoroethylene, polyvinylidene, fluoride, or polymers made from perfluoroalkoxy compounds.
20. The method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the plurality of elevations is randomly distributed on the condensation surface.
21. The method as claimed in claim 11, wherein the plurality of elevations are distributed in an ordered pattern on the condensation surface.
Description
    BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
  • [0001]
    1. Field of the Invention
  • [0002]
    The invention relates to an apparatus and method for condensing gases. An important parameter for many industrial processes is the condensation behavior of a vapor/gas. For the purposes of the present invention, condensation is the phase change of an element or of a compound from a gaseous phase into a liquid phase.
  • [0003]
    2. Discussion of the Background
  • [0004]
    Taking the example of the water/air system, i.e. humidity, a certain percentage of water vapor is present in the air of the outdoor atmosphere. This water vapor is termed humidity. The ratio of the mass of water vapor present in a volume of air to that volume of air is termed the absolute humidity. However, a more important value is that known as relative humidity. Relative humidity is defined as the mass of water vapor present in a volume of air divided by the mass of water vapor when that volume of air is saturated, and can be ϕ = P D P S = f f max
  • [0005]
    described by the following formula:
  • [0006]
    where φ=relative humidity; PD=water vapor partial pressure; Ps=saturation vapor pressure; f=absolute moisture level; fmax=maximum moisture level.
  • [0007]
    Relative humidity of 100% therefore means that the water vapor partial pressure is the same as the saturation vapor pressure of water at a given temperature and pressure. It is known from thermodynamics that for two phases to exist alongside one another in equilibrium their chemical potentials have to be identical. Liquid phase and vapor phase can therefore only exist alongside one another at a certain pressure, which is temperature-dependent.
  • [0008]
    Condensation processes are used in a wide variety of industrial processes, e.g. distillation, reactive distillation, cooling water circuits in power plant turbines, and work-up of aqueous or organic solutions by drawing off the solvent. These processes therefore have a major part to play in industry.
  • [0009]
    The energy balance is an important economic criterion here, implying that the less energy needed to condense a liquid, the more cost-effective the condensation process. This process may be described as follows, taking the example of condensation of water vapor from air:
  • [0010]
    A surface (condenser) is cooled with respect to the surrounding gas phase. In the immediate vicinity of the surface there is cooling of the gas and of the water vapor. If the pressure is held constant here, the prevailing water vapor partial pressure can exceed the saturation vapor pressure associated with the lower temperature. In that case condensation occurs, leading to deposition of water on the surface. The droplet present on the surface then gives up heat to the surface and thus cools. In many types of condensation apparatus, this transfer of heat has to be compensated, therefore requiring constant recooling of the condensation surface. The cooling of these surfaces is a very energy-intensive process. The greater the amount of condensate on the surface and the longer its residence time, the more energy the condensate gives up to the surface. It is therefore desirable that the water droplet is conducted away from the surface as rapidly as possible and that its temperature is as high as possible at that juncture.
  • SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
  • [0011]
    It is an object of the present invention, therefore, to improve the economics of the condensation process, i.e. the process extending from condensation of a vapor to collecting the resultant liquid.
  • DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
  • [0012]
    Surprisingly, it has been found that increased condensation efficiency is possible with the aid of a structured surface.
  • [0013]
    The present invention provides an apparatus and method for condensing a gas on a surface, where the surface for condensing the gas (condensation surface) has elevations of average height of from 50 nm to 1 mm, and with an average separation of from 50 nm to 1 mm.
  • [0014]
    The arrangement of the elevations may be regular (ordered) or stochastic (randomly distributed). The elevations may moreover have an average height of from 500 nm to 50 μm.
  • [0015]
    The surface energy may be from 5 to 20 mN/m, preferably from 10-20 mN/m. Higher surface energies, such as from 20-40 mN/m, are also possible but are not generally necessary, e.g. for condensing water.
  • [0016]
    Structured surfaces are known and termed lotus surfaces, and have been described, e.g. in DE 198 03 787 and WO 96/04123, both incorporated herein by reference, where the self-cleaning action of the structured surfaces is described.
  • [0017]
    Those surfaces of the apparatus of the invention at which the vapor condenses have a very small run-off angle for liquids, in this case for the condensate. Once a condensed droplet has begun to move, it can run off the surface without assistance and can collect other droplets, and this applies even to very small droplets. A droplet size below 0.5 μl is sufficient for this purpose. The droplets therefore have relatively low adhesion to the surfaces and thus run off from the surface relatively rapidly. This phenomenon affords many thermodynamic/technical advantages. The shorter residence time of the condensate on the surface reduces the amount of heat which can be given up by the liquid to the surface, since this process proceeds in proportion to temperature difference and time. The results of the more rapid transport of the condensate away from the surface are firstly that less energy is transferred and secondly that what are known as condensation nuclei are made available again more rapidly.
  • [0018]
    The sites at which the liquid phase is produced are termed condensation nuclei. Condensation within the vapor has to begin with formation of small droplets. The smaller the droplet, the greater its vapor pressure, and therefore at a given level of oversaturation the droplets that can grow are only those whose radius exceeds a certain value. All droplets with a smaller radius tend to re-evaporate. Condensation of the oversaturated vapor can take place only after a nucleus has been produced as a result of a fluctuation phenomenon associated with a fall in entropy. The frequency of this nucleation is a decisive factor in determining whether a phase change from gaseous to liquid is likely to occur at a given level of oversaturation. The frequency is found to be very sensitive to the level of oversaturation of the vapor/gas. Within a relatively narrow range of oversaturation levels, the scale will extend from almost no condensation events to very frequent condensation events. Whether oversaturation of the vapor is present or not depends to a major extent on the microscopic environmental parameters applicable to the vapor.
  • [0019]
    The condensation surface of the present invention therefore preferably has one or more of the following features:
  • [0020]
    an angle of inclination of at least 3°, in particular at least 10°, preferably at least 30°, particularly preferably at least 45°,
  • [0021]
    a surface energy of from 5-20 mN/m, determined on a surface without elevations (by the method of Owens et al., J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 13, 1741, 1969, incorporated herein by reference),
  • [0022]
    a material: polytetrafluoroethylene, polyvinylidene fluoride, or polymers made from perfluoroalkoxy compounds, and/or metals, as sole constituent, main constituent, or coating,
  • [0023]
    a coating made from fluoroalkanes, from alkyl-fluorosilanes, or from fluorinated vinyl compounds.
  • [0024]
    The apparatus of the invention may be used in cooling systems, distillation systems, reactors, reflux condensers, or power plant condensers, or else in air conditioning systems, dehumidifiers, or cold traps. The apparatus may contain a means for removing condensate formed on the condensation surface. Such means may rely on gravity for drawing the condensate liquid to a reservoir or outlet from the apparatus. A preferred means of removing condensate utilizes gravity to allow the condensate to move under the influence of its own weight down the condensation surface to a removal or containment reservoir or outlet from the apparatus. It is preferred to orient the condensation surface at an angle to improve the condensate's ability to move under the influence of gravity.
  • [0025]
    The method of the invention may be used to improve the energy efficiency of any process that involves condensing a condensable gas. The method may be conducted by bringing a condensable gas into contact with the condensation surface. The condensation surface is preferably cooled. The pressure of the condensation gas is preferably substantially constant and may be adjusted so as to change the rate of condensation of the gas on the condensation surface. The rate of condensation may be further regulated by adjusting the cooling of the condensation surface.
  • [0026]
    Particular applications of the invention include cooling, distillation, or condensation systems for any of the elements and compounds which can change their phase from gaseous to liquid, in particular for water, ethanol, methanol, MTBE, hydrocarbons, fuels, combustion gases, or liquefied gases, such as N2 or air.
  • [0027]
    In the invention method, a gas containing a condensable vapor is brought into contact with the invention condensation surface, preferably with cooling of the condensation surface and collection of the resultant condensate.
  • [0028]
    German Application Number 100 65 797.4, filed on Dec. 20, 2000, is incorporated herein by reference in its entirety.
  • BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING
  • [0029]
    A more complete appreciation of the invention and many of the attendant advantages thereof will be readily obtained as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings, wherein the condensation apparatus of the Examples is shown.
  • EXAMPLE 1
  • [0030]
    A negative shape was produced by UV lithography of a photosensitive plastic and subsequent electroforming with nickel according to EP 0 933 388, incorporated herein by reference. This shape was used to cast a polycarbonate film having a microstructure with protuberances of about 2 μm wide (measured at half height) and about 4 μm height with a spacing of 4 μm. The structure of the shape has the same dimensions with opposite sign.
  • [0031]
    The polycarbonate film structured in this manner was then rendered hydrophobic with Dynasilan F 8262 (Degussa AG). An unstructured polycarbonate film was also rendered hydrophobic with Dynasilan F 8262 (Degussa AG). A polycarbonate film rendered hydrophobic in the same manner but unstructured had a contact angle with water of 109.8° and a surface energy of less than 20 mN/m (determined according to Owens et al.) and the structured film a contact angle of 150°.
  • [0032]
    A second negative shape was produced in the same manner as described above. With the second shape a polycarbonate film having protuberances of about 0.5 μm wide (measured at half height) and about 0.5 μm height with a spacing of 0.5 μm, was produced.
  • [0033]
    The films having different structured surfaces as well as a hydrophobic and unstructured polycarbonate film were fixed on the outside of metal tubes. Those tubes were one after another installed into a second, larger tube. The first tube was cooled by streaming cooling water (10° C.) through the inside of the tube. The larger tube was filled with steam of water having a pressure of 105 N/m2. A schematic picture of this arrangement is given in the drawing.
  • [0034]
    The inner tubes with the different films fixed on the outside were exchanged after a given period of time. The water condensed on the different sheets or films in the same period of time was collected and weighted. The mass of the water collected on structured surfaces was at least 50% higher than the mass of water collected on the tubes having hydrophobic but non structured surfaces. There was no significant difference in the mass of water collected on structured surfaces having protuberances with a wide of 2 μm and those having protuberances with a wide of 0.5 μm.
  • EXAMPLE 2
  • [0035]
    The same negative shape as described in the Example above can be used to form a structured nickel sheet by galvanic forming. This sheet once again can have a microstructure with protuberances of about 2 μm wide (measured at half height) and about 4 μm height with a spacing of 4 μm.
  • [0036]
    A nickel sheet with this structure can be rendered hydrophobic with Dynasilan F 8262 (Degussa AG). An unstructured nickel sheet can also be rendered hydrophobic with Dynasilan F 8262 (Degussa AG).
  • [0037]
    A second negative shape can be produced in the same manner as described above. With the second shape a nickel sheet can be produced having protuberances of about 0.5 μm wide (measured at half height) and about 0.5 μm height with a spacing of 0.5 μm.
  • [0038]
    The sheets with different structured surfaces as well as a hydrophobic and unstructured nickel sheet can be fixed on the outside of metal tubes. Those tubes can be installed one after another into a second, larger tube. The first tube can be cooled by streaming cooling water (10° C.) through the inside of the tube. The larger tube can be filled with steam of water having a pressure of 105 N/m2.
  • [0039]
    The inner tubes with the different sheets on the outside can be exchanged after a given period of time. The water that can condense on the different sheets in the same period of time can be collected and weighted. On structured surfaces, the mass of the water that could be collected is at least 50% higher than the mass of water for the tubes with hydrophobic but non structured surfaces. The mass of water that could collect at the tube can be much higher when using tubes having metal sheets fixed on it instead of polycarbonate films. There is no significant difference expected in the mass of water collected on structured surfaces with protuberances with a wide of 2 μm and those with protuberances with a wide of 0.5 μm.
  • [0040]
    Obviously, numerous modifications and variations of the present invention are possible in light of the above teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims, the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described herein.
Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US3354022 *Mar 31, 1964Nov 21, 1967Du PontWater-repellant surface
US4492268 *Aug 24, 1981Jan 8, 1985Hisaka Works, Ltd.Condenser
US4601933 *Oct 18, 1984Jul 22, 1986Yoshiro NakamuraHeat transfer promoters and method of using the same
US5199486 *Jan 27, 1992Apr 6, 1993Dri-Steem Humidifier CompanyCoated heat exchanger for humidifier
US5599489 *May 25, 1995Feb 4, 1997Onoda Cement Co., Ltd.Preparing molded articles of fluorine-containing polymer with increased water-repellency
US6018963 *Jul 28, 1998Feb 1, 2000Hitachi, LtdRefrigeration cycle
US6068911 *Apr 17, 1997May 30, 2000Hitachi, Ltd.Super water-repellent coating material, and super water-repellent coating film using the same
US6176302 *Feb 22, 1999Jan 23, 2001Kabushiki Kaisha Kobe Seiko ShoBoiling heat transfer tube
US6427767 *Feb 26, 1997Aug 6, 2002American Standard International Inc.Nucleate boiling surface
US6447919 *Jun 14, 2000Sep 10, 2002Cytonix CorporationHydrophobic coating compositions, articles coated with said compositions, and processes for manufacturing same
US6470691 *Jun 13, 2000Oct 29, 2002Atofina Chemicals, Inc.Fluid transport
US6571865 *Jun 18, 1999Jun 3, 2003Nanyang Technological UniversityHeat transfer surface
US6649266 *Apr 14, 2000Nov 18, 2003Institut für Neue Materialien Gemeinnützige GmbHSubstrates provided with a microstructured surface, methods for the production thereof, and their use
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US7211313 *May 3, 2002May 1, 2007Degussa AgSurfaces rendered self-cleaning by hydrophobic structures and a process for their production
US7399353Sep 26, 2003Jul 15, 2008Degussa AgProduction of suspensions of hydrophobic oxide particles
US7517428Jul 26, 2003Apr 14, 2009Degussa AgProduction of self-cleaning surfaces on textile coatings
US7517487Feb 3, 2003Apr 14, 2009Degussa AgRelease agents comprising hydrophobic, nanoscalar particles, and the use of these mold release agents
US7846529Dec 21, 2005Dec 7, 2010Evonik Degussa GmbhSelf-cleaning surfaces comprising elevations formed by hydrophobic particles and having improved mechanical strength
US7858538Nov 17, 2008Dec 28, 2010Evonik Degussa GmbhCoated textile with self-cleaning surface
US7964244May 28, 2003Jun 21, 2011Evonik Degussa GmbhMethod for producing a surfactant-free suspension based on nanostructured, hydrophobic particles, and use of the same
US8420163Nov 3, 2010Apr 16, 2013Evonik Degussa GmbhProcess for forming a surface comprising elevations of hydrophobic particles
US8563010Feb 9, 2004Oct 22, 2013Evonik Degussa GmbhMethod for preventing mold formation by using hydrophobic materials, and mold-controlling agent for building parts
US8629070Feb 26, 2002Jan 14, 2014Evonik Degussa GmbhFlat textile structures with self-cleaning and water-repellent surface
US20030013795 *May 3, 2002Jan 16, 2003Creavis Gesellschaft F. Techn. U. Innovation MbhSurfaces rendered self-cleaning by hydrophobic structures and a process for their production
US20030108716 *Dec 4, 2002Jun 12, 2003Creavis Gesellschaft Fuer Tech. Und Innovation MbhLight-scattering materials which have self-cleaning surfaces
US20030134086 *Nov 14, 2002Jul 17, 2003Creavis Gesellschaft Fur Tech. Und Innovation MbhDiffuse-reflection surfaces and process for their production
US20040154106 *Feb 26, 2002Aug 12, 2004Markus OlesFlat textile structures with self-cleaning and water-repellent surfaces
US20050056411 *Sep 11, 2003Mar 17, 2005Roland DilleyHeat exchanger
US20050112326 *Feb 3, 2003May 26, 2005Degussa AgShaping method for producing shaped bodies with at least one surface that has self-cleaning properties, and shaped bodies produced according to this method
US20050118433 *Feb 5, 2003Jun 2, 2005Creavis Gesellschaft FuerMethod for the production of protective layers with dirt and water repelling properties
US20050163951 *Feb 3, 2003Jul 28, 2005Markus OlesDevice produced using an injection molding method and provided for storing liquids, and method for producing this device
US20050208269 *Feb 5, 2003Sep 22, 2005Degussa AgSheet extrudates with self-cleaning properties, and method for producing these extrudates of this type
US20050227045 *Jun 25, 2003Oct 13, 2005Creavis Gesellschaft Fuer Tech.Und Innovation MbhMethod for the flame spray coating of surfaces with powder to create the lotus effect
US20050253302 *Feb 3, 2003Nov 17, 2005Degussa AgRelease agents comprising hydrophobic, nanoscalar particles, and the use of these mold release agents
US20060127643 *Feb 3, 2006Jun 15, 2006Creavis Gesellschaft Fuer Tech. Und Innovation MbhLight-scattering materials which have self-cleaning sufraces
US20060127644 *Feb 3, 2006Jun 15, 2006Creavis Gesellschaft Fur Tech. Und Innovation MbhDiffuse-reflection surfaces and process for their production
US20060128239 *Jul 26, 2003Jun 15, 2006Edwin NunProduction of self-cleaning surfaces on textile coatings
US20060141223 *Dec 27, 2005Jun 29, 2006Degussa AgEnhancing the watertightness of textile sheetlike constructions, textile sheetlike constructions thus finished and use thereof
US20060147675 *Dec 21, 2005Jul 6, 2006Degussa AgSelf-cleaning surfaces comprising elevations formed by hydrophobic particles and having improved mechanical strength
US20060156475 *Dec 21, 2005Jul 20, 2006Degussa AgEnhancing the watertightness of textile sheetlike constructions, textile sheetlike constructions thus enhanced and use thereof
US20060222815 *Apr 21, 2004Oct 5, 2006Degussa AgUse of particles hydrophobized by fluorosilanes for the production of self-cleaning surfaces having lipophobic, oleophobic, lactophobic and hydrophobic properties
US20070014970 *Dec 9, 2003Jan 18, 2007Edwin NunDispersion of water in hydrophobic oxides for producing hydrophobic nanostructured surfaces
US20070184981 *Feb 9, 2004Aug 9, 2007Degussa AgMethod for preventing mold formation by using hydrophobic materials, and mold-controlling agent for building parts
US20090123659 *Nov 25, 2008May 14, 2009Creavis Gesellschaft Fuer Tech. Und Innovation MbhMethod for producing a self-cleaning surface by flame spray coating
US20090137169 *Nov 17, 2008May 28, 2009Evonik Degussa GmbhCoated textile with self-cleaning surface
US20110045247 *Nov 3, 2010Feb 24, 2011Evonik Degussa GmbhSelf-cleaning surfaces comprising elevations formed by hydrophobic particles and having improved mechanical strength
EP2294931A1 *Sep 2, 2009Mar 16, 2011Drom Fragrances GmbH & Co. KGImproved process and improved apparatus for yielding plant ingredients
Classifications
U.S. Classification165/164
International ClassificationF28F13/04, F28F13/18, B01D3/00, B01D5/00
Cooperative ClassificationB01D5/0015, F28F2245/04, F28F13/04, F28F13/187, B01D5/0003
European ClassificationB01D5/00B, F28F13/04, F28F13/18C2, B01D5/00B16
Legal Events
DateCodeEventDescription
May 22, 2002ASAssignment
Owner name: CREAVIS GESELLSCHAFT FUER TECHNOLOGIE UND INNOVATI
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNORS:ROOS, MARTIN;NUN, EDWIN;OLES, MARKUS;AND OTHERS;REEL/FRAME:012922/0525
Effective date: 20020417